With 13 distinct dining and drinking options, the multimillion-dollar renaissance of the Continental Sorrento is one of leading chef and restaurateur Scott Pickett’s most exciting projects to date. Though each separate space holds its own, none is quite as special as his stunning fine diner Audrey’s.

With touches of brass, pale green velour banquettes and large windows overlooking Port Phillip Bay, it’s a warm, heartfelt homage to his grandmother, Audrey.

“One of my great memories of Audrey is that on her birthday, Anzac Day, [she] always liked to have crayfish,” says Pickett. “But if money was tight that year, the family would pile into the local pub for a seafood basket.”

Never miss a moment. Make sure you're subscribed to our newsletter today.


This memory – combined with the restaurant’s oceanfront setting – inspired the five-course, seafood-dominated set menu, which is $150 a head. It’s a beautifully delicate and thoughtful offering, pairing Pickett’s childhood nostalgia with touches of modern opulence.

Snacks like malt-glazed eel on Melba toast; spanner-crab crumpets; and lobster-and-caviar tartlets come on silver platters. Abalone is skewered, grilled and served atop a bed of shells and sea foliage. For an extra $40 a head, add a serve of Great Ocean Road duck with fermented gold-plum jam, steamed gai lan and a wood-roasted duck-tongue skewer served with duck-liver pate.

Dessert is just as lush. The signature showstopper is Audrey’s vacherin, a French meringue inspired by her love of pavlova. It’s filled with spiced rhubarb, apple and ginger, and finished with a touch of gold leaf in what Pickett says is “another example of bringing nostalgia and luxury together in the menu”.

To keep the good times rolling, head downstairs to another of the Conti’s drawcards, Barlow. The lavish late-night speak-easy – and live-entertainment venue – is a nod to the legacy of the hotel’s founder, George Coppin. According to Craig Shearer (Fitzroy North’s Terminus Hotel, Brisbane’s Plough Inn), who’s curating the Conti’s food and drink offering with Pickett, “George was quite a theatrical guy that had also started a theatre down here. He acted in many performances and his stage name was Billy Barlow.”

Barlow hosts DJ sets every Friday and Saturday night and is set to be a seaside stop for touring musicians and comedians. With emerald-green walls, acoustic-optimised wood panelling, moody art deco-inspired lighting, and plush booths and shell-shaped chairs, it’s fit for purpose – designed by Melbourne-based architecture studio Woods Bagot.

Drinks have been curated by the Speakeasy Group (Eau de Vie, Mjolner, Boilermaker House, Nick & Nora’s and Pearl Diver), and it’s all about cocktails; expect souped-up classics such as the Absinthe Colada and the Mornington Margarita with salt-and-pepper pineapple syrup.

The Continental Sorrento
1–21 Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento

Wed 12pm–3pm
Thu to Sat 12pm–3pm, 6pm–11pm
Sun 12pm–3pm

Thu to Sun 8pm–3am